Coming in

Sexual politics and EU accession in Serbia

Koen Slootmaeckers
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LGBT rights have become increasingly salient within the EU enlargement process as a litmus test for Europeanness. Yet, they are also increasingly subject to contestation. To analyse the symbolism of LGBT rights in the EU enlargement process and its impact on LGBT politics in candidate countries, Coming in presents a novel relational and transnational conceptualisation of the Europeanisation process. Empirically the book analyses the promotion of and resistance to LGBT equality norms in Serbia’s EU integration process. Through a critical analysis, Coming in demonstrates that the EU enlargement process has created the opportunity for Serbia to politicise LGBT rights for its own goals and engage in, what this book has labelled, tactical Europeanisation. The book demonstrates how candidate countries can instrumentalise EU identity markers for their own political goals, undermining the impact of reforms on the ground. Overall, Coming in demonstrates the need for a more critical analysis of the politics embedded in the EU enlargement process that goes beyond institutional changes to included specific transnational configurations of politics and the complex (negotiated) outcomes they produce. In doing so, it raises critical questions about what we consider progress and the role of legal and institutional change within it. Rights without material change for people remain empty, make-believe signifiers of progress, as progress in law without a change in their lived experience remains hypothetical.

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